Decentralization is the Way

I’m kicking off my “listener generated episode week” with a discussion of decentralization.

My Podcast theme is “Think locally, Act locally,” so much of the show covers this topics, but this particular listener wanted to know if I think we are seeing any progress in decentralization in the United States.

I had a lot to say about this, both positive and negative.

Much has changed since I was a young graduate student nearly thirty years ago.

At that time, any talk of “decentralization” would get you labeled a quack. It didn’t matter if it was something mild like federalism or stronger moves like nullification or the dreaded secession.

The War settled those issues, right?


Regardless, people on both the left and the right are now openly talking about these forbidden ideas. This is healthy. The time may not be right for any of it, or maybe it is, but the fact that we can have a civil conversation about it means that at least a foundation has been built for a larger conversation.

This is great at the State and local level where all of this actions needs to take place.

But just as in the late 1990s, the center will never buy it. I don’t see anyone in Washington really thinking about decentralization. Some give it lip service, but most just ignore it.

Too much money and too much power.

Trump’s election in 2016 also sparked a rise in conservative “nationalism,” from “Christian Nationalism” to “Populist Nationalism.”

That certainly retards any serious discussion of decentralization.

There is a dirty little secret that no one in D.C. wants to acknowledge:

When the people of the States push back, they win.

As Clyde Wilson told me in 1999, nullification always works.

This was a fun episode to put together.

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